About a month ago I had asked Lee if he would mind me doing an Interview with him. He was very happy I asked and was Very Kool about it! So here it is fella's!
Let’s start this off by telling us a little bit about yourself and what got you started into this world of Horror?
I got into horror at a very early age. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario where we got several American TV stations from Buffalo. Every Saturday morning one of these stations used to show old monster movies and I found them far more entertaining than your typical mid-70s cartoons. I discovered Alan Ormsby’s book Movie Monsters which fueled my interest even more. Then came my discovery of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and eventually a new publication called Fangoria caught my eye. By the age of 10 I was eating, sleeping, and breathing horror. My folks didn’t get too wound up about it as long as I was still behaving myself and getting good grades in school. They figured it was just a phase that I’d soon outgrow…they’re still waiting for that to happen. Fast forward to high school where I’d do yard haunts at my folks place on Halloween and started accumulating props/masks/decorations. I guess you could say that was the start of collecting. As time went on I learned more about collecting but didn’t have the money to really participate in it as a hobby. Fast forward again to 2003 when I was called to the bar and opened my own law firm. A few more years of hard work later, the disposable income that I needed in order to get into serious collecting started rolling in and I was finally able to start buying. I had spent years quietly on the delines of this hobby watching and learning so when I finally had the money I knew what to go after and what to spend on it.Lee, you have an outstanding collection from all the pictures you have shared with us over this past year. How did it come to be the Mancave that it is today? What was the first mask you ever got? Also what mask or bust did you get when you knew that you would be collecting for the rest of your life?
The first mask I ever got was an old Topstone Frankenstein mask. At the time it was way too big for me but I didn’t care. I loved that mask and wore it as often as I could without looking too weird. It’s a veteran of numerous trick-or-treating excurons when I was a kid. In Grade 12 when I had to do a movie for English class based upon one of several clasc novels, I was quite relieved to see Frankenstein on the list and my trusty old Topstone was called out of retirement. To this day that old Topstone still ts in my collection.
As to what piece confirmed to me that I had made it to the point I could be called a collector, it wasn’t a mask or bust but rather a pair of cufflinks I bought back in 1995 when I had just gone back to school. I had read about a celebrity auction in Los Angeles that was an AIDS fundraiser and amongst the items listed was a pair of Frankenstein-shaped cufflinks that were owned by Boris Karloff and donated by his daughter Sara. I could write an entire book about what I had to go through to bid on them (this was before the advent of online auctions and you actually had to be there or have a proxy) but in the end those cufflinks were mine!
As for the infamous Mancave itself, it was created when my wife (who admittedly puts up with a lot) finally drew the line and said my collection couldn’t take over the entire house and had to be confined to our finished basement.What Clasc Horror movie would you say inspired you the most, for your love of clasc Horror?
The clasc Universal Studios monsters really drew me in and to this day remain my favorites. They had a sympathetic quality you just don’t see in modern movie monsters which (to me) makes them a lot more realistic. In quite a few of these movies, the “monsters” were victims of circumstances beyond their control and the real monsters were the humans. As for favorites, the Frankenstein monster has always been my favorite character with the Wolf Man a close second.I also have a lot of love for the ‘50s horror/sci-fi movies.You seem to be a very patient person who doesn’t mind the waiting period that it takes for certain pieces. Tell us, has there ever been a piece that you had found and purchased that made you so impatient and excited to get and what was it?
You know, I’ve never really been impatient to get anything. Sure I always look forward to getting the stuff I order but the reality is with me living in Canada and ordering most of my stuff from the US, even if something is boxed and ready to ship it still usually takes 2-3 weeks to get to me. To me the wait time is just another part of the hobby.
I should actually clarify that…there are some circumstances when I do get impatient with people. Those would be when someone tells me they are going to be shipping my item “next week” and several months later I’m still being told it’ll be shipped “next week”. As far as I’m concerned though, that’s me having a problem with dishonesty and not an issue of impatience.
How many masks (including busts) do you have and what is your most expenve piece?
Right now I have about 160 which doesn’t include about a dozen or so pieces I have on order. As far as expense goes, the most I’ve paid for a ngle piece would be a tie between my Chuck Jarman Glenn Strange Frankenstein latex bust with hands and my Bob Causey ren David from the Lost Boys. If you want to include the cost of work done to a piece after purchang it, however, the most expenve piece in my collection is my Pumpkinhead sculpted by Henry Alvarez with arms sculpted by the late Dwight Shundo. Sam McCain recently did a full restoration of the piece over a span of several months, transforming it from a latex bust that was really worn and showing its age into a museum-quality piece.
Those are in the process of being beaten though, but I’m not saying anything further until they’re actually here. Has there ever been a mask or bust that you never thought you would get because it is so rare? Is there a mask or bust out there that you want in the worst way, but can't seem to get?
No not really. One thing I’ve learned over time is that even the rarest of pieces become available now and then. It’s just a matter of patience. Sure it can get discouraging at times but the longer the wait, the more satisfying the feeling when you do land that eluve piece.If you had to sell out your collection and where only able to keep 2 items, what would they be and why would they be those 2 in particular?
The 2 items I would probably keep are the Topstone Frankenstein I had nce childhood and the cufflinks I mentioned earlier. The reason for selecting those two is that they have the most sentimental value. Everything else in my collection could be replaced.
Have you ever reached a point during your collecting years, where you got burned out on it and needed to take a break away from it all and can you ever see the day when you would just sell all of your stuff and get out of the hobby?
Actually there are times when this hobby can get very frustrating and there is the temptation to just say “screw it” and sell off everything. When it gets to that point, taking a few days away from it always helps.
Yes I do see the day coming when I will sell off my entire collection and get out of it completely. Part of my reason for collecting is to have these pieces as investments, which means there is the intent to sell them at some future point (hopefully for a profit). I imagine in about 10 to 15 years time I’ll be starting to set myself up for retirement and part of that will involve selling off my collection.Just recently you started working on some of your pieces. I believe the last 2 were your Cryptkeeper and the ren Hannibal bust. Of all the pieces you have painted yourself, Which one is your favorite and condered to be your best work?
You forgot the repaint I did on my Nightowl Dead Guy mask a few weeks after finishing the Cryptkeeper.
I also just finished painting a ren Wolf Man bust by Howard S Studios. As for which would be the best to date I’d have to say either the Cryptkeeper or the Wolf Man. I still look at those ones sometimes and can’t believe I did that. They really turned out better than I had dared hope for.nce Horrorbid focuses on horror related items, talking about other things that interest you doesn’t really work on the te. Seeing as how this is an interview, I get to ask you if you have any other pasons in life bedes horror?
I’m quite pasonate about the work I do. When my clients come to me they are going through the worst ordeal a parent can endure, namely the loss of their children. It then falls to me to try and get my clients on the right track to put their family back together. Sometimes it works out and we get a happy ending, other times it just can’t get to that point and the children have to move on. Those tuations get really rough and the most difficult part of my job is telling a parent that their children just aren’t coming home. To be able to last in this type of work you need to be pasonate about it.
In my down time I also have some other non-horror things to fill my time. I don’t have any kids but my three German Shepherds keep me pretty active. I also love to cook when I’m able to get home at a decent hour. Finally, I love working on high performance cars during the summer. Right now I own two Mustangs that I have fun with.Lee this has been a Wonderfull Interview and I found this to be a Very Fun experiance! I apreciate your time in answering all of the questions! This is one Killer Collection and you are one Awesome Guy!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of High Ages... Mr. Lee Lamberts "MANCAVE" as it is Today
WHATTA WOPPER A???
Thanks Again Lee!!!
I Hope everyone enjoys reading and viewing this just as much as I did doing it!